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Proposed Rule

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Blackburn's Sphinx Moth

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Proposed rule; public hearing announcement.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) gives notice of a public hearing on the proposed critical habitat designation for Blackburn's sphinx moth (Manduca blackburni). The public hearing on the island of Hawaii and extension of the comment period will allow all interested parties to submit oral or written comments on the proposal. We are seeking comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning the proposed rule. Comments already submitted on the proposed rule need not be resubmitted as they will be fully considered in the final determination.

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DATES:

The comment period for this proposal closes on December 30, 2002. Any comments received by the closing date will be considered in the final decision on this proposal. One public hearing will be held on the island of Hawaii, on Tuesday, October 29, 2002, in Kailua-Kona from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Prior to the public hearing, the Service will be available from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. to provide information and to answer questions.

ADDRESSES:

The public hearing in Kailua-Kona will be held at the King Kamehameha Hotel, 75-5660 Palani Road, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Comments and materials concerning this proposal should be sent to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, PO Box 50088, Honolulu, HI 96850. Comments and materials received will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above address.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Paul Henson, at the above address, (telephone 808/541-3441, facsimile 808/541-3470).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The public hearing for the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for Blackburn's sphinx moth announced in this Federal Register notice and the public hearing for the proposed designation of critical habitat for 47 plants from the island of Hawaii announced in a separate Federal Register notice are scheduled for the same date, time, and location in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii as a matter of convenience to the public. We will accept comments at this public hearing on the proposed designation of critical habitat for Blackburn's sphinx moth, as well as the proposed designation of critical habitat for 47 plants from the island of Hawaii.

Background

On June 13, 2002, we published a proposed critical habitat rule for the Blackburn's sphinx moth (Manduca blackburni) listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et. seq.), known historically from the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu, and known currently from the islands of Hawaii, Kahoolawe, and Maui (67 FR 40633). The original comment period closed on August 12, 2002. The comment period now closes on December 30, 2002.

A final listing rule, listing the Blackburn's sphinx moth as endangered, was published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2000 (65 FR 4770). In that final rule, we determined that critical habitat designation for the moth would be prudent, and we also indicated that we were not able to develop a proposed critical habitat designation for the species at that time due to budgetary and workload constraints.

On June 2, 2000, we were ordered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (in Center for Biological Diversity v. Babbitt and Clark, Civ. No. 99-00603 (D. Haw.) to publish the final critical habitat designation for Blackburn's sphinx moth by February 1, 2002. The plaintiffs and the Service entered into a consent decree in a separate action agreeing to jointly seek an extension of this deadline (Center for Biological Diversity v. Norton, Civ. No. 01-2063 D.D.C. October 2, 2001).

On January 30, 2002, the U.S. District Court in Hawaii approved a joint stipulation to modify the terms of the June 2 order to extend the deadline to August 10, 2002. Subsequently, the Service determined that an additional extension of time was needed to complete this designation making process. On August 21, 2002, the U.S. District Court in Hawaii approved another joint stipulation extending the date for the final rule designating critical habitat for this species to May 30, 2003.

The proposed rule published June 13, 2002, proposes to designate eight separate units, totaling approximately 40,240 hectares (99,433 acres) on the Hawaiian Islands of Maui, Hawaii, Molokai, and Kahoolawe as critical habitat for Blackburn's sphinx moth. For locations of these proposed units, please consult the proposed rule (67 FR 40633).

Section 4(b)(5)(E) of the Act, requires that a public hearing be held if it is requested within 45 days of the publication of a proposed rule. In response to requests from various parties, we will hold a public hearing on the date and at the address described in the DATES and ADDRESSES sections above. The public hearing and extension of the comment period allows all interested parties to submit oral or written comments on the proposal.

Anyone wishing to make an oral statement for the record is encouraged to provide a written copy of their statement and present it to us at the hearing. In the event there is a large attendance, the time allotted for oral statements may be limited. Oral and written statements receive equal consideration. There are no limits to the length of written comments presented at the hearing or mailed to us. Legal notices announcing the date, time, and location of the public hearing will be published in newspapers concurrently with the Federal Register notice.

Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and participate in the public hearing should contact Patti Carroll at 503/231-2080 as soon as possible. In order to allow sufficient time to process requests, please call no later than one week before the hearing date. Information regarding this proposal is available in alternative formats upon request.

Comments from the public regarding this proposed rule are sought, especially regarding:

(1) The reasons why any particular area should or should not be designated as critical habitat for this species, as defined by section 3 of the Act;

(2) Specific information on the amount, distribution, and quality of habitat for the species, and what habitat is essential to the conservation of the species and why;

(3) Land use practices and current or planned activities in the subject areas, and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat;

(4) Any economic or other impacts resulting from the proposed designations of critical habitat, including any impacts on small entities, energy development, low-income households, and local governments;

(5) Economic and other potential values associated with designating critical habitat for the above species such as those derived from non-consumptive uses (e.g., hiking, camping, birding, enhanced watershed protection, increased soil retention, “existence values”, and reductions in administrative costs); and

(6) Information for use, under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, in determining if the benefits of excluding an area from critical habitat outweigh the benefits of specifying the area as critical habitat.

The comment period on this proposal closes on December 30, 2002. Written comments should be submitted to the Service office listed in the ADDRESSES section.

Author

The primary author of this notice is Mike Richardson (see ADDRESSES section).

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Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

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Dated: October 1, 2002.

Paul Hoffman,

Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

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[FR Doc. 02-25722 Filed 10-9-02; 8:45 am]

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